Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Latino-owned bookstore Dicho’s opens in Bishop Arts District
Free wi-fi and an indoor bakery for the non-readers.
If there is one area of Dallas that can be described as up-and-coming it’s the Bishop Arts District located in Oak Cliff. With all the high-quality restaurants, artsy shops, unique boutiques and modern galleries, it seems this section of Dallas has it all.
Dichos is Spanish for “sayings.” Anyone who’s grown up in a Spanish-speaking household knows a few dichos. A popular one is Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres. Rough English equivalent is “you’re known by the company you keep.”
For Jorge Alvarez and Gilbert Barrola, owners of Dichos, they’re hoping to have a lot of company in the future. After all, the store’s tagline is “Your little bookstore with big dreams.”
Dicho's is the third bookstore for the business partners who arrived in Dallas by way of Pomona, California and Gainseville, Texas. The pair met over six years ago while working in California and found that they both had a love for books and being self-employed.
After spending six years in California operating their first Dichos, the pair closed shop, packed their belongings and moved to Gainesville, Texas where their second Dichos has been opened for the last two years.
Getting the entrepreneurial itch to expand, the business partners decided, the economy notwithstanding, to try their luck and open a second shop in Dallas.
After scouting various locations, the two fell in love with the Bishop Arts District and even more so when they realized there wasn’t already a bookstore in the area.
Occupying the corner of Bishop Avenue and Seventh Street, Dichos, with its emphasis on Latino books, fits nicely with the surrounding architecture of terra-cotta roofs and old-style charm.
Walking into Dichos is like walking into someone’s home, someone who really loves books. Every book and item in the store are personally selected by the owners and reflect their interests and passions.
Bookcases featuring a range of genres from coffee table books to New York bestsellers to Home and Garden are tucked alongside finely crafted chairs, tables and couches which are all for sale.
Yet, one of the biggest sections in Dicho's is the children’s area. Passionate about promoting reading to children, Jorge and Gilbert already are making plans to connect with local schools and libraries.
“I want to get kids to read, and kids need to read what they’re interested in. Otherwise, they lose interest in what they are reading,” Jorge said.
Jorge and Gilbert say they plan to have children storytimes for the younger children and work with the area’s high schools to create a gift card program for older readers.
Also, because Jorge and Gilbert are proud Latino business owners they want to do their part in promoting Latino/a authors and plan to do so by hosting reading and signing events at the store. Being the owners, they also say they can work more easily with self-published authors.
While Jorge and Gilbert may be bucking the corporate trend of opening their own bookstore, they have taken a cue from their bigger competitors and have installed free wi-fi access, along with, partnering with Cretia Drydale, longtime owner of the locally renown Cretia’s, to open a satellite bakery inside Dicho's. Patrons can take a break in their book browsing and indulge their sweet tooth with the bakery’s signature sinfully exquisite pastries and pies.
Located just past the children’s section, the bakery’s small dining area features café tables and chairs where light lunches will be available on weekdays and brunch on the weekends, in addition to coffee and sweets all the time.
Never having a bakery inside their store before, Jorge and Gilbert admit it’s a new experience that has not taken them long at all to get used to.
Now, the only thing they are trying to get used to is waiting for people to discover they’re here and open for business.
Dicho's, located at 500 North Bishop Avenue, is open Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, noon-4 p.m. and closed on Mondays. Cretia’s has the same store hours.
Pegasus News Content partner - Latina Lista
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